Originally formed to aid retired Baptist Ministers with their pensions, the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention grew to a net worth of around $3 billion by the early 1980s with $3 million in annual growth. They were second only to the Methodist Pension Board in Chicago in size among not for profit religious pension companies at the time.
The majority of the work at the beginning of my tenure at the Annuity Board, was geared towards a Retirement/Annuitant System development from the ground up, scheduled to go live on January 1, 1988. The team went through a CICS refresher course as well as a class on ADR IDEAL, a new generation of high-level programming languages. My first summer there was spent almost entirely in a conference room JAD (Joint Application Development) session, where we remained until the design phase was completed. During the design phase, I was assigned to chair a weekly user group meeting, featuring all the major department heads, which was a real challenge because many of the long time employees had a disliking for the “new technology” that was replacing their familiar paper shuffling methods. It was a very trying, yet educational experience.
The Annuity Board provided excellent training for young professionals new to the software field and being a religious organization, required regular Monday morning attendance to chapel by all employees. The Board never applied pressure to its employees regarding religious preferences, especially among the professional staff.